The Friends of Rockland Lake and Hook Mountain (“the Friends”) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the preservation of the local history and natural resources of Rockland Lake, Hook Mountain, Nyack Beach State Park, and Haverstraw Beach State Park. The Friends is made up of volunteers who work in collaboration with the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (“PIPC”) and other stakeholders to educate the general public about these parks and to protect these public lands for generations to come.
Rockland Lake, Hook Mountain, Nyack Beach State Park, and Haverstraw Beach State Park are together nearly 2,000 acres of public land. The four adjacent state parks are linked together by hiking and biking trails and function as one park system.
Rockland Lake State Park consists of 1,133 acres including a picturesque 256-acre fresh water lake. Circled by a three mile biking and hiking path, the lake is located on a ridge of Hook Mountain above the west bank of the Hudson River. The Rockland Lake recreational area includes a large public swimming pool, golf course, tennis courts, and picnic benches.
Hook Mountain is a majestic 676 acre reclaimed wilderness area loved by hikers and bird watchers, with its spectacular views of the Hudson Valley and River. The summit is 730 feet above sea level, accessible only by marked hiking trails. The park is a prime location for bird watching including bald eagles and various types of hawks. The Audubon Society estimates over 12,000 hawks fly by Hook Mountain every fall. Hook Mountain (along with neighboring Nyack Beach State Park) is designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service—one of only 600 such federally designated sites in the United States.
Nyack Beach State Park
Nyack Beach State Park encompasses 61 acres of riverfront along the Hudson including a bottom portion of Hook Mountain. The park provides public access to the Hudson River and is popular for launching canoes and kayaks and for hiking, bicycling, and picnicking along the waterfront.
Comprising 73 acres, Haverstraw Beach State Park was acquired by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission in 1911 to protect the scenic area from quarrying efforts. Haverstraw Beach State Park is undeveloped and provides for hiking and biking with a direct, seamless connection to Nyack Beach State Park’s riverfront trail. Signage in the park also indicates the place where British Major John André met with the treasonous American General Benedict Arnold on September 21, 1780 to plot the surrender of West Point during the American Revolutionary War.
The Hudson River is actually an estuary for nearly half of the river's 315 mile course between Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondacks and the south western tip
of Manhattan. This section of the river at Nyack Beach State Park and Haverstraw Beach State Park is part of the estuary. The Hudson Estuary stretches 153 miles from Troy, New York, to the New York Harbor in
New York City.
The Hudson Estuary usually has two high and two low tides in twenty-four hours, along with corresponding changes in the direction of water flow. A rising tide is typically accompanied by a flood current flowing north towards Troy and a falling tide by an ebb current flowing to the ocean. That is why Native Americans of this region named this body of water "Mahicantuck" which means "great waters in constant motion" or "river that flows two ways."